State cracks down on Flint company after Flint River spill

September 19, 2022 GMT

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — State regulators on Monday ordered a Flint chemical company to truck wastewater to a water treatment plant, weeks after it was blamed for an oily discharge in the Flint River.

The 11-page order describes disputes between Lockhart Chemical and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The state said the company has a “long-running history” of failing to comply with environmental laws.

“This company was given multiple opportunities to fix the problems at their facility and they refused. Now they must face the consequences,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Lockhart didn’t return a message seeking comment.

The state said breaches in the system have resulted in wastewater leaks, which enter Flint’s storm sewers and discharge pollution to the Flint River. The company has underground tunnels and an open trench.

“The system is structurally unsound,” the order states.

ADVERTISEMENT

A spill of oily material into the river was reported on June 15. Investigators subsequently discovered more wastewater infiltrating the storm sewer that leads to the river, the state said, especially after significant rain.

Lockhart makes coatings, metalworking additives, hydraulic fluids and lubricants.

Flint’s drinking water has not been threatened. Flint used the river for drinking water in 2014-15 before lead contamination caused the city to return to Lake Huron water provided by a regional supplier.